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WEEKLY EMAIL

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08th Jun 2016
Warning! This info may be out of date. Read this week's email

Quick message from Martin - Get this emailed

"Hi. This free, spam free weekly email is the key way to save. We put all the latest deals, guides and loopholes in, yet many close within hours. Don't miss out, join the 12m who get it each week."

08 June 2016
         
 
THE TOP TIPS IN THIS EMAIL
Martin's Briefing: 20 nifty over-50 MoneySaving tips
Martin's 'How to vote in EU referendum' no-spin guide
B'band & line rent '£61 a year' code
DON'T ignore parking tickets warning
New: FREE £200 for switching bank
'Free' photo mug, £3 del
Vodafone warning - check bills NOW
R Lauren FLASH up to 50% off code
£1 sun cream - factors 15-45
Cheapest time to book Easyjet?
Kids 'free' to West End shows
Contact lenses 40% off code
BBC Store 55% off, incl Night Manager, Line of Duty
Euro 2016 deals, cheapest shirts, £10 off Domino's, beer offers
New 6mth 0% credit rejects' card
£45 Sanctuary Spa gift set £22
£53 steak bundle £30 via code
'Free' £3 Greggs lunch via new app
 

Martin's Weekly Briefing: For more tips, alerts & puns, follow Martin on Twitter

20 nifty over-50s MoneySaving tips

- Are you missing out on pension credit worth £35 a week?
- Discounts at places incl B&Q, Boots, Specsavers & theatres
- Get a year's travel insurance for as little as £14


Age, they say, can confer plenty of advantages - wisdom, confidence, tolerance, and no need to wear socks if you don't want to. Financially though, it presents challenges and opportunities.

So if you're a grey or silver saver (some of these are for over-50s, some 60s, and some older), there are lots of tips in our updated 50+ nifty over-50s tips guide, but I've picked 20 quick, easy, or crucial ones to start...

1. Over-50s travel insurance from £14 - don't let them overcharge. Older travellers often get fleeced by insurers. Yet there are decent rates. Below is a quick look at the cheapest no-frills annual policies (they cover a year's trips) that meet our min cover levels. Far more info, including couples' policies and more in 65+ Travel Insurance. Always check the policy terms are right for you.

50+: Holidaysafe Lite* £14 Europe; £27 world.
66+: Holidaysafe Lite* £25 Europe, Leisure Guard* £48 world.
70+: Holidaysafe* £25 Europe, Leisure Guard* £48 world.
80-85: Insure and Go* £197 Europe, £297 world.
85+: No cheap annual ins; use MoneySup* comparison for each trip.
Medical issues? Always declare them. If getting cover's tough, see Pre-Existing Medical Conditions policies.

An alternative route is to get it free by switching bank account. The fee-free Nationwide FlexAccount includes European travel cover for up-to-75s (so get a joint account and you're both covered).
2. Over 50s SavingGet 10 points per Boots spend rather than 4. Age 60+. The Boots Over-60s Club means you get up to 10 points per £1 spent in store on Boots own-brand products (not others), instead of 4 points per £1. Each point is worth 1p and can be redeemed on most things in store.
3. Are YOU missing out on £35/week extra state pension cash? Those born before 5 April 1953. The pension credit is an income boost to those on low incomes in retirement. There are now 1.6m eligible pensioners who AREN'T CLAIMING (100,000 more missing out than last year). To see if you're eligible, read Am I Due Pension Credit?

As Jean emailed: "When I checked your pension credit help I then rang and within 30 minutes am now going to receive an extra £22 per week, backdated three months. I can't believe it, it will be such a big help."
4. B&Q diamond card, automatic 10% off. Age 60+. B&Q offers a free B&Q Diamond Card for over-60s; it's valid in stores (not online) for 10% off on Wednesdays (some exclusions apply). Though even bigger discounts may be possible if you haggle, as B&Q is a haggler's heaven - in our poll 60% of those who tried there succeeded, see Haggling Tips.
5. Don't believe the ads - over-50s plans are pants for most. Axa SunLife now has a TV ad on somewhere every 4 minutes (according to Money Mail), so be careful. Read my Beware Over-50s Plans guide first - there are some winners, but many get out less than they put in.
6. Been saving for years? Your best buy isn't best any more - are you earning 3%? If you've been squirrelling away cash for years, check the interest rate. The fact it was a best buy once almost certainly means it isn't now. Many pay less than a spitworthily-low 0.5%. So check, and if it's pants, move it to somewhere better.

As the personal savings allowance means most people no longer pay tax on savings, it's rate that counts. The highest payer for a decent whack comes from switching to Santander 123, which pays 3% on £3,000 to £20,000. More help in Top Savings and Top Cash ISAs.
7. Should've got your 25% off code first. Age 60+. Specsavers gives 25% off in store on frames & lenses in its £69+ range. Yet you shouldn't always have gone to Specsavers, often it's cheaper elsewhere - check our Cheap Glasses Discount guide first (also Cheap Contact Lenses).
8. Equity release is NOT a no-brainer. The older the better. Equity release loans are marketed to older homeowners as a way to spend your home's value while still living there. But rates, at 5%-7%, are higher than mortgages and as you don't make repayments, interest compounds at rocket speed.

So it's worth looking at downsizing your home if possible. If not, take as small an equity release as you can, as late as you can (and do it again later if you must). More info in Equity release need-to-knows.
9. Hidden theatre discounts & get cheap cinema tickets. Age 50+. They're not always advertised but it won't hurt to ask at your local playhouse - many forumites report senior successes, eg, £40 off a £60 ticket to Jersey Boys. If you're 55+ many cinemas discount too plus Odeon Silver Cinema has showings for £3, with free tea, coffee & biscuits.
10. Death happens - have the 'unpleasant issues' chat. Hopefully you'll live healthily and happily until you're 156, but death's an issue for all to consider and the older you are the sooner it's likely. So talk your loved through our Death Happens Checklist, including arranging who'd look after any dependants, funeral planning and care.
11. Get a Power of Attorney. I'm a big fan of getting a lasting Power of Attorney (I have one at 44) - it means in the event you lose your faculties (stroke / dementia / accident), someone else can take over your affairs. Without one, loved ones need go through the usually hard, horrid & costly process of applying in court. And, importantly, if you've assets, ensure you're choosing what happens to them with a Free or Cheap Will.
12. Historic sites for less. Age 60+. Lots of discounted memberships for places such as English Heritage and National Trust, meaning days out to classy places at pleasing prices. See Historic site savings.
13. Cut your energy bill 'by £500/yr' even WITHOUT SWITCHING. The best way to save is to do a Cheap Energy Club comparison to find your cheapest, get £30 cashback and let us monitor your bills afterwards so we can let you know when to switch again.

Yet some older people are reticent to change firm, so there is another way. Most people are on their energy provider's standard tariff, but all Big 6 firms have cheaper deals. For example, with typical use, EDF's standard tariff is £1,069/yr, but its cheapest deal's just £800/yr - the only difference is price.

So if you won't switch firm, at least see if you're on its cheapest deal. The best way is to do a comparison and search for your provider. If not, at least just call it, like Christine did: "Job well done Martin. I saved £516/yr just by phoning Npower and asking for a tariff review."
14. Car insurers will fleece you if you auto-renew. All drivers. While not specifically an age issue, some older drivers find it tough to access cheap cover. Don't be gulled into staying with the same insurer every year. Auto-renewing is a fine for apathy. Some even find their own insurer's £100s cheaper as a new customer than via renewal.

For inspiration, it is in fact gran Barbara Wakerell who got the all-time record cheapest insurance, from following our cheap car insurance system; a price of 96p for 1yr's fully comp insurance (after cashback).
15. 10% off Senior Railcard. Age 60+. Get a third off off-peak train travel with a Senior Railcard plus there's a 10% code off the card making it £27 instead of the usual £30 until 30 Jun, see senior railcard deals. Plus check if you're entitled to free bus & tube travel.
16. Care for somebody? 200,000 are missing out on carer's credit. It's Carers Week this week, and while there are carers of all ages, many over-50s are carers, and many needing care are over 50. There's a special protection to ensure you get enough national insurance contributions for the state pension, but many are missing out. Do check this Carer's credit help.
17. Get a free TV licence. Age 75+. You don't need to pay, regardless of anyone else's age in your home. Bag a free £145.50 TV licence.
18. Age barriers for mortgages have thankfully risen. Age 50+. A number of banks are raising their upper limits - the age by which you must pay off the home loan. Lloyds and Halifax recently upped it by five years to 80 and Nationwide will up it by 10 yrs to 85 in July. See our Mortgages For Over-50s info.
19. Grab a free £70+ passport. Age 87+. If you were born on or before 2 Sept 1929, you can apply for a free 10yr passport. Get the form at your local post office or call the Passport Office on 0300 222 0000.
20. Could you have a forgotten pension idling in lost accounts? Many do but don't know it. Check now - a 10-minute search can uncover old bank accounts, pensions, life assurance & investments. Lance emailed: "Used your site to search for old pensions I might have had years ago. Found £39,000 with Scottish Widows. Thank you." See Reclaim Forgotten Cash for full info and tips on how to find yours.

This isn't the beginning of the end, it's the end of the beginning - for far more, see 50 over-50s tips.

 
 
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15,000 codes. B'band & line rent just '£61 a YEAR' (equiv £5/mth)

Cheapest broadband promo deal we've seen this year, cuts £250+ off standard costs. Yet limited number


If you've a standard broadband package with most big players, eg, BT, Sky, TalkTalk, Virgin, you're paying £300-£450/yr including line rental. As we always say, the trick to cheap broadband is to grab hot, short-lived promos (or haggle based on them). And a Sky deal launching this week is by far the cheapest we've seen so far in 2016...

  • Cheap Broadband Sky broadband & line rent code. MSE Blagged. 15,000 codes only. It's a year's contract, paid via direct debit. The key is half-price line rental and 'free' broadband, plus £50 bill credit. It's available to 90% of the UK, but sadly NOT existing Sky b'band or TV or line customers (or if you've had any of them in the last 12mths)...

    1. There are 15,000 codes. It's first come, first served, so apply NOW for one via this Sky link* (one per home, not transferable, pls only get one if you'll use it). You'll then get an email from it letting you sign up FROM 10am Friday (10 June) till 11.59pm Thu 16 June.
    2. Card verification. You'll pay £5 to verify your card when ordering - it's refunded later.
    3. Line rental is then half price. It's £17.40 a month, so you pay half that, £8.70/mth (so £104.40/yr). If Sky increases line rental (as most firms do regularly), you'll then pay half the new amount for the rest of the contract.
    4. Unlimited broadband 'free' for 12 months. It's unlimited up-to-17Mb speed. You also get a 'free' compulsory router, but there's £6.95 p&p added to your first bill. After the contract ends, broadband rises to £10/mth.
    5. We've blagged you £50 bill credit. It'll be added to your account once your bill's active. Actually you'll have £55 credit (the £50 plus the refundable £5). The first £6.95 pays router delivery, the rest is used up on line rental and calls, until it's gone, meaning you won't shell out for up to six months...

    - What about calls? None included. Costs are a bit more than BT to landlines, less to mobiles (Sky call costs).
    - No line/switching from cable? You pay a £20 new line fee. A few others may need pay on sign-up too (see why).

    How cheap is this all-in? Very. You pay £111.35 (at current prices, before calls) for the year's line, b'band & router, but after the £50 bill credit, it's £61.35 for a year, equiv £5.11/mth. Most line rent alone's three times this.

  • Already with Sky? Some standard speed alternatives... See our full write-ups in Cheap Broadband & Line, including TalkTalk £198/yr with a £120 high st vch or BT's £274/yr plus £80 back.

  • Need fast fibre? See Cheap Fibre Broadband, incl SSE's b'band & line £21/mth and BT's £383/yr with £130 back.

 

No spin. What are the facts? How to vote in the EU referendum. Much awaited, Martin's In or Out? guide.


'Free' photo mug, just pay £3 delivery (norm £11 all-in). Good for FATHER'S DAY (Sun 19 Jun). Photo deals


All Vodafone customers - check your bills ASAP for errors. An MSE investigation has uncovered huge billing, direct debit, wrong tariff and other problems at Vodafone. It's apologised and admits "many recent issues relate to the move of our legacy billing & services platforms". For what to check, your rights and how to get redress, see our new check your Vodafone bill warning.


Ends Thu. Ralph Lauren FLASH up to 50% off code. MSE Blagged. Never cheap, but cheaper here. Our code gives early sale access, so max stock, eg, £85 men's shirt £43, £110 dress £55. PLUS free del (norm £10). R Lauren


£1 sun cream - factors 15-45. And they check out on safety, too. See our Cheap sun cream round-up.


This Thurs - the CHEAPEST time to book millions of Easyjet seats? It happens five times a year - and this is the booking time for Feb/Mar, incl Valentine's and half term. Easyjet tricks

 

BLAGGED FOR MSE

- Sky '£61 a year' line rent + broadband Ends 16 Jun

- Ralph Lauren FLASH up to 50% off code Ends Thu

- BBC Store 55% off downloads Ends Sun

- Contact lenses 40% off + free delivery code Ends 16 Jun

- £53 steak bundle £30 via code Ends 26 Jun

DID YOU MISS?

- Check if hackers have stolen your personal info

- One text stops most annoying calls

- 3.2million wrong tax codes - check NOW

- Strewth... Australia flights sub-£600 - how to find 'em

- Book holiday car hire NOW to slash cost

 
 

Warning. Can you spot the difference between these two parking tickets?

A viral message shared 250,000 times about Martin's parking ticket info is great awareness-raising... but WRONG


ParkingThis Facebook post (right) about Martin's fighting unfair private parking tickets masterclass on ITV's This Morning has gone blisteringly viral, with 250,000 shares so far. It's great awareness-raising, but there's a but...

Can you spot the difference between the two tickets?
Official council parking fines are called 'Penalty Charge Notices', yet private parking tickets from supermarkets, hospitals and others do better impressions than Alistair McGowan. Just look at the 'Parking Charge Notice' in the picture. But, it's NOT A FINE, JUST AN INVOICE.

Martin WASN'T saying just ignore them. The post got that bit wrong. If it's a fair private parking ticket, pay it - landlords have a right to protect their space. Yet if it's unfair, whether due to poor signage, timing errors, faded markings, or just over the top, you've a right to fight it.

Some militant campaigners do suggest just ignoring tickets, as some firms won't take you to court to enforce them. If they do, though, you're risking a judge scorning your lack of response. Martin's prime route is writing back explaining why it's an unfair invoice; there are free template letters in Fight Unfair Private Parking Tickets. It works, as Alexandra tweeted: "@MartinSLewis, followed your private parking template and it helped me win the appeal for my wrongful ticket. Thank you."

What about unfair official council or police parking fines? Here you follow the appeals route, and even if it's rejected at first, you can carry on; 57% who go all the way win. Full help in Fight Unfair COUNCIL Parking Tickets.

FREE Glove-Box Emergency Guide. Keep our Parking Emergency Guide in your glove box for help at the scene.

 

Heads up. Kids go free to West End shows in Aug (incl Wicked & Lion King) with paying grown-up. Starts Tue (14 June). Limited avail. Last year 116,000 tickets sold in the first 24 hours, so go quick. See 35+ shows.


Contact lenses 40% off code, eg, 90 lenses £27. MSE Blagged. Lots of brands & types. A site for sore eyes


BBC Store 55% off download-to-keep series, eg, £4.50 Night Manager, £5 Line of Duty. MSE Blagged. Discount on paid-for series you can't get via iPlayer. Often cheaper than DVD/iTunes. BBC Store code


Euro 2016 deals, cheapest replica shirts, £10 off Domino's, beer & cider offers. It kicks off on Friday... get replica shirts at £49.99, sizzling BBQs & cheap grub offers, £10 off £30 Domino's code, plus 20x 440ml beers for £10. Please be Drinkaware. Full Euro 2016 deals.


New 6mth 0% credit rejects' card can give respite from bank charges/payday loans. Accepted new Aqua card (eligibility calc / apply*) customers get 6mths' 0% spending & even some with past defaults or CCJs get accepted. Who's it good for? If your credit score's poor, be careful with new borrowing; we see it mainly as a good way to get respite from more expensive debts. See Aqua help for how to do it. Plus ALWAYS clear before the 0% ends, or it jumps to a horrid 34.9% rep APR. Full help: Bad-credit credit cards (APR examples).


£22 Sanctuary Spa summer gift set (£45 indiv). Incl full & travel-size lotions, scrubs and St Tropez fake tan. Boots


 

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AT A GLANCE BEST BUYS
 

New: Free £200 for switching bank (& it's easy & hassle-free)

The price war is rekindling. If you missed out earlier this year, stop bitching and start switching


Switching pays and it's easy & hassle-free. Or so 83% of those who've used 7-day switching since its 2013 launch told us in a snap Twitter poll, eg, Pete: "I transferred to First Direct. Very smooth and got £100 shortly after." They close your old account, move direct debits & standing orders and auto-forward payments. So unless your bank treats you like a princess, stop bitching & start switching. Here are top picks (overdrawn? see Cutting Overdraft Costs). All accounts require a credit-check.

  • Bank switchNew. Free £200 bank switch (£150 upfront; £50 if you stay). New switchers to HSBC's Advance* get £150 within 70 days. Plus, register for online / mobile banking once it's open and if you're still with it after a year you get another £50. It has a 6mth 0% overdraft, and you can save up to £250/mth in its linked 6% regular saver.

    Customer Service: OK: 44% rated it 'great', 19% 'poor', in our Feb poll.
    Who can get it? You must switch two direct debits or standing orders. Then to keep it, you must pay in a relatively large £1,750/mth (equiv to £26,300 salary).

  • Free £150, up to £5.50/mth & good service. Switchers to Co-op get £150. And sign up to its Everyday Rewards scheme to get £4/mth plus 5p per debit card use, up to £1.50/mth. So a max £216 in year one.

    Customer Service: Very good: 70% rated it 'great', 6% 'poor', in our Feb poll.
    Who can get it? You must switch four or more direct debits. To get Everyday Rewards you must pay in £800/mth (equiv to £9,850 salary) & get paperless statements, log in to online / mobile banking once a month & stay in credit/within your overdraft limit.

  • Free £100, No.1 service, 6% linked savings & 0% overdraft. First Direct's* won every customer service poll we've ever done. On top of a free £100, switchers get a £250 0% overdraft and you can put up to £300/mth in its linked 6% regular saver.

    Customer Service: Never been beaten: 91% rated it 'great', 3% 'poor', in our Feb poll.
    Who can get it? You must pay in £1,000/mth (equiv to £13,100 salary) or there's a £10/mth fee.

  • High interest savings, no minimum pay-in & more. These aren't the only accounts worth looking at...
    - Got savings?
    You can earn 3% on up to £20,000 in Santander 123, plus get cashback on bills.
    - Free £125 + £5/mth: A simple and lucrative proposition from Halifax.
    - Can't make the min monthly pay-in? Use a workaround or go to M&S for £100 gift card & 6% regular savings or Co-op & Halifax which give you the free cash but not other benefits.

Full info: Best Bank Accounts. Related: Basic Bank Accounts, 10 Ways to Cut Your Overdraft.

 

£53 steak bundle for £30 via code. MSE Blagged. All free-range, outdoor-reared, outdoor-bred UK meat, incl 2 sirloin, 2 flat iron, 2 lamb rump, 2 pork loin & 2 gammon steaks. Great for a meaty Father's Day. Market Porter


'Free' Greggs lunch (norm £3) when you top up its app with £5 via PayPal. Limited avail. See Greggs deals.


Beat Virgin Mobile's price rises. Pay-monthly & SIM-only prices go up from Fri 1 July. Find out how to take action


SUCCESS OF THE WEEK: (Send us yours on this or any topic)
"Day 1: Read MSE email, contacted Barclaycard directly via online PPI template letter, told them I thought I had PPI but no idea where, when or how I got it. Day 5: Letter from Barclaycard - acknowledgment. Day 10: Letter upholding claim for £3,341.26. Day 12: In the bank. Total time spent: 10 mins. I owe you a beer."


Discounted 1yr Merlin passes £129 for Alton Towers, Thorpe Park, Legoland etc. On Fri 1 Jul it goes back up to the normal 2016 price, £169, so if you're going to buy, do it soon. Unlimited entry to 32 attractions. Merlin passes


FREE £8ish cocktail or £4.50ish beer. Sign up for Pitcher & Piano voucher. Please be Drinkaware.

 
 

CAMPAIGN OF THE WEEK

Teachers: My Money Week starts on Monday. From 13-19 June education charity Pfeg (part of Young Enterprise) is running My Money Week. It's offering fab free resources (incl lesson plans and suggested activities) to teachers delivering cash classes for the first time or after new ideas. Download from the My Money Week website, and see MSE's Financial Education info. It's a great chance to prepare students for their financial futures.

 

THIS WEEK'S POLL

Do you buy brand name medicines? Eg, Nurofen vs ibuprofen


The EU referendum's looming. Over 43,000 voted in our EU referendum poll last week. Of those eligible and intending to vote, 36% want to remain in the EU, 57% want to leave, while just 7% are genuinely undecided. We can't be too sure there wasn't campaigning on the vote though, so don't rely too heavily on the results. See the full referendum poll.

 

MONEYSAVING NEWS

- Top story: BHS holding 'closing sales' as it shuts up shop - what it means for you

- Starbucks customers hit with hefty late charges - check to see if you're impacted

- Second 'opt out of cold calls' text service is launched - but this time it's free

- Austin Reed stores to close by end of June - use your gift cards NOW

- Topcashback user? You've until the end of next month to swap earnings for Tesco Clubcard points

- Four out of five back right to take kids on term-time holidays

- Flexible season ticket could save part-time c2c commuters over £100/yr

 
 

MONEY MORAL DILEMMA

Should we pay our sister's share of our parents' gift? Two years before our parents' 40th wedding anniversary my three sisters and I agreed to each contribute £250 towards a holiday for them. However, a few weeks before, one said that because she was on benefits (she had been for years) she could only save up £100. Should the rest of us make up the shortfall? Enter the Money Moral Maze: Should we pay our sister's share of our parents' gift? | Suggest an MMD | View past MMDs

THE QUICKIES
- Debt-Free Wannabe chat of the week: 3-6 Month Emergency Fund Challenge
- Competitions thread of the week: Win a Vespa
- Old-style board thread of the week: Change - better late than never
- Discussion of the week: Are you comfortable?
 
 

MARTIN'S BLOG

- How to vote in the EU referendum

 
 

MARTIN'S APPEARANCES (WED 8 JUNE ONWARD)

Thu 9 Jun - Good Morning Britain, ITV, Deals of the Week, 7.40am. View previous
Fri 10 Jun - This Morning, ITV, Martin's Quick Deals, from 10.30am. View previous
Mon 13 Jun - This Morning, ITV, from 10.30am
Mon 13 Jun - BBC Radio 5 Live, Lunch Money Martin, noon. Subscribe to podcast

TEAM APPEARANCES

Wed 8 Jun - Share Radio, 11.20am
Thu 9 Jun - BBC Radio Manchester, 4.20pm
Tue 14 Jun - BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, 2.20pm

 

QUESTION OF THE WEEK

Q: My dad is 86 and has several savings accounts paying interest. Now he can receive £1,000 tax-free he would like me to ask how he declares any interest over this limit. If he were to receive an annual interest income of £3,000, how does he go about declaring this; who will know if he doesn't? Jan, by email.

MSE Sam Mc's A: The new personal savings allowance allows every basic-rate taxpayer to earn up to £1,000 in savings interest tax-free per tax year, while higher-rate taxpayers can earn up to £500.

If they earn more than this, and don't ordinarily fill in a self-assessment tax form, they won't have to declare it. This is because, at the end of the tax year (April 5), all banks should report to HMRC how much interest individuals have received. If it's above the new thresholds, tax will be taken off. HMRC should take the tax by changing their tax code - this means, from next April, their pay packet and income will change.

Having said that, we have some doubts over how efficient this system will be.

However, if your dad already fills in a self-assessment form every year, he'll have to declare the interest on it. Choosing not to declare it may be considered tax evasion if it was intentional - that's a criminal offence.

Please suggest a question of the week (we can't reply to individual emails).

 

NUN'S FARTS AND ANGEL'S TUMMY - WONDERFULLY WEIRD FOOD NAMES

That's it for this week, but before we go, check out this thread from the forum: Unusual food names. Here in the UK, we're rather used to some of our best-loved dishes having odd names: toad in the hole and bubble & squeak, for example. But we're not alone; there are weird food names around the world. Let us know the strangest names you've come across.

We hope you save some money,
Martin & the MSE team

 
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